Women’s AIL Week 15 Preview. Semi Finals

Published Categorised as 2017-18, All Ireland League Women, Club Rugby Women, Cooke RFC, Old Belvedere RFC (W), Railway Union RFC, UL Bohemian RFC Tagged
Will it be UL Bohs v Railway in the AIL Final? Picture credit - John Crothers

 The Women’s All Ireland League enter’s it’s penultimate weekend with the top four going head to head in the playoffs for the League championship.

The teams are seeded by their regular season finishing position with 1st hosting 4th and 2nd hosting 3rd, the final finishing positions are shown below.

U.L. Bohemian14130152710642112064
Railway Union14110362510352210054
Old Belvedere1411034021192838153

This gives the following semi finals, all to be held on Saturday 14th April.

14:30Railway UnionvOld BelvederePark Avenue, Dublin
15:00UL BohemianvCookeUL Sports Grounds, Limerick

Looking at the league games this season you would expect the fixtures to go in favour of the home side. The league games between Railway and Belvo have gone with home advantage and those between Bohs and Cooke have gone firmly in favour of Bohs, with the Limerick side winning both.

In more recent encounters Railway have beaten both Belvo and Bohs in the All Ireland Cup but the cup match between Bohs and Cooke was a walkover for Bohs after Cooke got their dates wrong.

Put bluntly, the Women’s AIL goes to pot over the Six Nations period with only 3 league games played in 3 months. There are cup matches shoe horned in somewhere along the way. However, it leaves most teams struggling to maintain their strongest sides, or any side at all for that matter, and ultimately it delivers a rather flat finish to the campaign. 

With their recent cup wins, over their main rivals, I would guess that Railway have recovered the quickest and are hotly tipped (well by me anyway 😆 ) to go on and complete a cup and league double. However, I can see any of the top three winning this one with UL Bohs the most likely to derail Railway’s double.

The Limerick side finished top of the league, with something to spare, in the regular season and they will feel, with some justification, that the title belongs to them.

Blevo have shown they can beat anyone on their day and also have a fair chance though I’d guess their campaign relies fairly heavily on the availability or otherwise of one or two key players.

Cooke have struggled against the top four sides. They have a 50:50 record with Belvo but were comfortably beaten twice by each of UL Bohs and Railway, I suspect the Belfast side will need the game of their season to progress.

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